2
Nov

A letter from Erich Korngold’s Son

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>Dear Mr. Bryant:


I know that my wife had written to you to tell you why I couldn’t answer your kind letter.


I have been home now for 6 weeks and am recuperating quiet well. Hence, I am finally able to take care of my correspondence.


Thank you for the very nice news about your upcoming performances of the Korngold Concerto. I am delighted that you are playing it, especially after listening to the cassette of your performances from 1982. Congratulations! You have a beautiful tone, play with great musicality and no need to say anything about the fine technique. I wish you all the best for a future career, which, is seems to me you will certainly achieve. (By the way, I shall inform the Scotland based “Korngold Society” that you gave the first performance. They thought the first performance was given by a young lady – her name escapes me – last year).


Unfortunately, due to the recent by-pass operation it seems rather unlikely that I would be in England at the time of your performances. I am sorry but I am sure you understand.


Did you know that Korngold wrote quite a bit of very worthwhile chamber music? You and your group might be interested. Schott is the publisher and there is a piano trio, 3 quartets, a sextet, a quintet, a suit for left hand piano and 2 violins and cello as well as a violin sonata.


Do let me hear from you again. I would be very interested to know how the performances went – especially your debut in London. If anyone makes a tape, I would love to hear it…


For now, kindest regards and best wishes.


Sincerely,

George Korngold


April 7, 1986


1
Nov

Time 0ut

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Film buffs at Friday’s free BBC concert at Maida vale may detect familiar strains in Korngold’s headily dreamy Violin Concerto. Themes from the ex-child prodigy’s film music, notably the Erroll Flynn costume comedy ‘The Prince and the Pauper’, are noticeable. ‘It sounds a bit duff put like that,’ syas the soloist Stephen Bryant, ‘but it’s cleverly fitted together.’


At ten the Moravian-born Korngold was called a genius by Mahler, at 13 acclaimed for a ballet. Today he’s remembered mainly for film scores (‘Robin Hood’, ‘Captain Blood’), and for the lush, sweet-sherry Violin Concerto.


Bryant was surprised to find he’d been given the British Première of it as a student. ‘I’d admired the Heifitz recording and a friend got me the music in America. Then he got irritated and bet me £10 I wouldn’t be able to learn it over Christmas for some concert trials at college.’ Bryant won the bet, inadvertently giving the first British performance of a swooningly Romantic work that leaves one wondering what little Erich Wolfgang might have achieved if he’d resisted the lure of tinseltown.